Original of this material
© verstka.media09.15.2023, Photo: gzt-sv.ru, psy.one,via verstka.mediaIllustrations: via verstka.media
For several years, Minister for Development of the Far East and Arctic Alexey Chekunkov, together with his wife, owned a stake in a Russian oil and gas production company, which he sold last year to one of the companies participating in the Eastern Economic Forum. “Verstka” and “Arktida” established at least two cases of a conflict of interest in the minister’s business activities, and also discovered his connections with companies in Africa and with a Swiss bank. The latter was suspected of helping Russian businessmen circumvent sanctions. How a native of Belarus, the son of a diplomat and the son-in-law of one of the major businessmen, as an official, lobbies the interests of companies associated with him, receives and sells assets and goes to the front – in the material of “Vorstka” and “Arktida”.
The text was prepared jointly with the director of the Arctida project Ilya Shumanov. And also with the participation of the “Belarusian Investigation Center” and the “Cyber Partisans” project.
“Analyzing this information, we can say that the investment activities of Chekunkov’s company do not have any significant profile or list of investors,” says Ilya Shumanov, director of the Arctida project.
After trying to manage his own investment company, Chekunkov in 2011 moved to the post of director, board member and member of the investment committee of the newly created Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF). There he was responsible for healthcare, energy, the raw materials sector and for the creation of the Russian-Chinese investment fund. In 2014, Chekunkov headed the Far East and Arctic Development Fund JSC, and in 2020 he became Minister for the Development of the Far East and Arctic.
Three Vorstka sources close to federal officials confirmed that he was promoted to the post of minister by Putin’s plenipotentiary representative in the Far Eastern Federal District Yuri Trutnev. One of the interlocutors noted that Chekunkov was recommended to Trutnev by the General Director of RDIF, a native of Kyiv Kirill Dmitriev (“Important Stories” were previously toldthat Dmitriev is married to Natalia PopovaPutin’s daughter’s deputy Katerina Tikhonova at the Innopraktika Foundation).
Vladimir Yorich positions himself as a German-Swiss tycoon who has no connection with Russia and controls uranium mining in the United States. Previously, nothing was known about his oil and gas assets in Russia and his business with the family of the federal minister.
As a girl, the minister’s wife bore the surname Telushkina. Her father, Valentin Telushkin, is a businessman and judging by media publicationswas among those close to Lukashenko oligarchs, being Head of CJSC Belagrointorg. This is one of the largest exporters and importers of agricultural products, machinery and equipment for the agro-industrial complex in Belarus.
Alexey Chekunkov’s father, Oleg Chekunkov, is a diplomat. He served as Ambassador Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Vietnam, concurrently in Laos and Thailand. In addition, Chekunkov Sr. was a deputy in the Ministry of Foreign Economic Affairs of Belarus, worked for a large Indonesian company that supplied coal to the EU, and also traded Belarusian potash fertilizers in Poland. Today, the father of the Russian minister, apparently, leads Belarusian company “VIK – Animal Health”, which produces veterinary drugs.
Chekunkov’s brother – Vitaly Chekunkov – citizen of Poland. For the last seven years he has lived in a suburb of Zurich and worked for Credit Suisse. It is the second largest financial conglomerate in Switzerland. In March of this year it became known that the US authorities suspected Credit Suisse and some of its employees aided Russian businessmen in circumventing sanctions after the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. It is unknown whether an investigation was carried out against the brother of the Russian minister. Now Vitaly Chekunkov takes at Credit Suisse as a liquidity risk manager.
[…] Chekunkov became one of the faces of the company for the resettlement of Ukrainians to the Far East. By mid-autumn 2022, about 2,922 Ukrainians were transported to his region. Subsequently, the Russian minister came under European And American sanctions.
“Alexey Olegovich Chekunkov is the Minister for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic. In this role, he was responsible for the resettlement of Ukrainians to the Russian Far East. Under his control, the resources of the eastern regions of Russia were used in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic,” the justification for the EU sanctions says.
Like dozens of other officials, Chekunkov and his boss Trutnev himself traveled to the occupied regions of Ukraine. […]